A Baltimore harbor pier sustained damage late last month after it was struck by the Spirit of Baltimore as the ship was returning to the dock after a late-night cocktail cruise. The incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. and damaged 60 feet of pier. The vessel reportedly only sustained cosmetic damage.
More than 400 people were aboard the vessel when it struck the dock at Henderson Wharf Marina. Two guests were hospitalized with minor injuries.
The cause of the incident – called an allision because it struck a fixed object, versus a collision which refers to two moving objects striking each other – has not been revealed. Coast Guard officials are investigating. Pending the completion of the investigation, the Spirit of Baltimore captain has been suspended.
In addition to the pier, two boats were struck when the ship veered off course.
In May, a cruise ship, Carnival Pride, struck the gangway while docking in Baltimore, sending the raised platform crashing down onto three parked pickup trucks below. The trucks, belonging to employees on of the ship, were unoccupied. No one was injured in that incident.
Worldwide, about 22 million people took cruises in 2014 and the largest ships can accommodate more than 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew. About 210,000 people set sail in 2014 on cruises out of the Port of Baltimore. Since launching year-round cruising in 2009, Baltimore has established itself as one of the busiest cruise ports on the East Coast.
The National Transportation Safety Board tracks statistics on maritime incidents. In 2013, there were almost 35,000 transportation-related fatalities. Of those, 614 were maritime incidents, only 18 of which involved commercial passenger ships.
However, when incidents that result in injury do occur, passengers should be prepared. The four biggest mistakes a passenger can make following a cruise incident are:
- Failing to read and understand the terms and conditions of the cruise ticket contract, which contains the limitations against the cruise line and the terms for filing an injury claim.
- Failing to report a cruise-related injury immediately after it happens and failure to gather witness reports to document the claim.
- Settling for less than might be awarded for an injury, such as accepting a cruise line voucher as recompense.
- Not seeking proper post-cruise medical care beyond treatment by the ship's physician.
If you were injured in an incident involving a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 1-800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.